Bill Mitchell, NCHT President

Sylvia Harrop
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

W. R. Mitchell, known to everyone as Bill, is, like his predecessor, a distinguished local person, who is known by almost everyone. Bill has had a lifelong interest in the history and natural history of the Dales region and of the life and work of its inhabitants. His greatest contribution to Yorkshire and the north-west has been as an editor and writer. He was born in Skipton, and gained journalistic experience on the Craven Herald. He then spent 40 years working for the Dalesman, for many of these as its editor; he also edited the Dalesman's companion, Cumbria, for many years. In 1988 he 'retired' from these responsibilities, but has continued to write and publish a stream of books on many aspects of Lancashire and Yorkshire history: up to now, his output has totalled over 100 books, never mind articles in the Dalesman and elsewhere. Whereas many researchers find great difficulty in organising themselves to write, Bill appears to have a silver pen, covering scores of pages without effort. He is also a very popular lecturer, and helps to fill the programmes of numerous societies in the area. Many of you will have enjoyed not only his books and lectures, but also the annual summer outings which he led for the Trust for many years.

Many of Bill's papers are now in the W.R. Mitchell Archive in the J.B. Priestley Library at Bradford University, which awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) in July 1996. In the previous month he had been awarded an M.B.E.

Bill tells me that he was at the very first meeting of the Trust's predecessor, the Settle Civic Society - sitting on the back row. We have now moved him to the front.